Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cul-De-Sac's Arch Nemesis

The Cul-De-Sac hero has been noticing a draining affect on his powers of late. His force field has not been as powerful and his boundless strength has been waning when he needs it most. Maybe it was the late night crying of his children who can't seem to have simultaneous nights of complete sleep. However, it is looking more and more like a malicious force has been reaching out from the depths of the city core to undermine the real estate values and political power of the suburban empire.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I was unaware of the menace before, but it's just hard to get through the important pages of a newspaper on a 40 minute train ride to get to the pages where the menace thrives. The "Life" and "Arts" sections where diatribes of this phantom have been flourishing.
Of course, now that I've been alerted to his presence by one of my favourite author/bloggers, other superheroes have already started the fight. Unfortunately, I've been focusing on my day-time persona a little too much to really be much of a force in the fight to save the land of cul-de-sacs. I'll just have to add my two cents and leave it at that.
The menace has a name, Richard Florida. He has a purpose: to collect large salaries and consultants fees for waxing ideologically in print media, government reports and classroom settings. What ideology? The ideology of "The Creative Class" or the "Creative Age". As if the other ages were the result of people who couldn't tap into their creativity. I wouldn't dare call inventors of steam engines, phonograph records and cotton gins creative, would I? Didn't they simply apply basic science in novel (gasp... creative) ways to solve problems and enhance life as we know it? Wow, what a disaster. Now look at the mess we're in - all these tools, houses and infrastructure.
The whole point of this movement, is that the economy is transforming into one based on creativity rather than the laborious industrialized economy that we're stuck with right now. You know, the one with carpenters, welders and factory workers that build us those things we barely use anymore like um.... houses, bridges, trains and cars. So, all of those people are supposed to drop their um hammery-weldy thingys and pick up one of those cool new laptops - the Mac ones, not PC's - and become a copy writer or graphics designer or something "creative" to use their full "creative capital".
The principle on which Florida bases his new ideology is that every human being is creative and has the right, and thereby, duty to use his "full talents and creative abilities." I have met a lot of people and while some are definitely creative, I'm sure that not everyone wants to stand up and present the outcome of their full creativity to their company's board of directors. If any company allowed all of their employees to simply be creative, there would not be much real capital to share with investors. The sad truth is that not all people should be allowed to be completely creative. Most people, I find, are happy being given a task and a time frame. Be the time frame a 60 second assembly line window or a 6 month IT project, people like guidelines.
I was once an energetic, idealistic, young recruit full of ideas that would revolutionize the industry until a few rude awakenings taught me that things are done a certain way for a reason. Not all creative capital is good at creating real capital.
The corporate structure isn't perfect, but it does help to filter out some of those cockamamie ideas brought up by young foolish kids fresh out of school. Some cockamamie ideas from the experienced staff still get pushed through, of course, but we're all human.
Maybe my creative capital was not developed enough which is why I'm now a jaded mid-level office worker with a blog-writing super-hero alter-ego. Maybe, if I hadn't been stifled, I would already be an highly paid executive consultant, marketing my creative problem solving skills and living the neo-bohemian, bourgeois lifestyle, raising a family from a two-bedroom, plus den condo in the core. Or maybe I would have just bought a bigger house in the suburbs. See, the problem with all these creative beatniks and gays that Florida thinks are the measuring stick of a city's health is that they don't breed. Well, some do breed but they immediately start to transform themselves into crossover-driving soccer moms and dads and look for a house with room to grow. They might even use some of their precious creative capital to decorate it.